It is easy to assume that milk protein isolate is the same thing as whey protein, but there is a big difference.
Whey protein concentrates and isolates are byproducts created when the cream from milk is processed into cheese. Isolated milk protein is created directly from skim milk and does not involve the cheese-making process.
The natural whey and casein proteins found in skim milk are separated from the other components of the milk through dialysis, filtration or another separation method.
Isolated milk protein contains a mix of whey and casein protein, so it is not the same thing as purchasing a pure whey isolate protein powder. Once the protein is isolated, it is a minimum of 90% protein and a maximum of 3% fat. It is also extremely low in carbohydrates, making it a suitable snack, protein supplement or meal replacement for most people trying to lose or maintain weight.
Most of the glucose that naturally occurs in milk is removed as the protein is separated. This is why many people who are glucose intolerant can still use milk protein isolate. A small amount of glucose may remain in the powder, but it is not enough to cause stomach upset for many lactose-intolerant users. If you have an extreme intolerance or allergy to glucose, then you may still want to stay away from all milk-produced supplements to ensure you do not have a negative reaction.
Is Whey Isolate Superior to Milk Isolate?
The answer to this question depends on who you ask and what your health and fitness goals are at this time. The major difference between whey protein isolate and milk protein isolate is the presence of casein protein in the milk isolate. Some people consider isolated whey protein the purest form of protein available for muscle gain and healthy weight gain. Those people typically prefer whey because it is broken down and utilized by the body faster than casein protein.
Yet, casein protein is not necessarily inferior to whey. It doesn’t hit your muscles as rapidly as whey, but a slow break down and distribution is sometimes useful. Your muscles can receive a steady supply of protein over the hours following an intense workout. Since isolated milk protein contains casein and whey proteins, your body will receive short-term and long-term supplies of protein.
If your goal is simply to increase your daily protein intake with high-quality protein sources, then you may not have a preference for the speed at which the protein is delivered to your muscles. You may select between milk protein isolate and whey protein isolate based on price, available brand and available flavors. In that case, whey isolate may win out because there are more products on the market and they come in a variety of delicious flavors.
How to Find Pure Isolated Milk Protein Powders
While there are many pure isolated whey protein powders on the market, your options are not as plentiful when it comes to pure milk protein isolate. Most products that utilize isolated milk protein mix it with whey protein, either in isolated or concentrated form. Some products will mix three or more protein sources, which means very little of the mix consists of pure milk protein isolates.
If you are insistent on finding pure milk protein isolate without any added protein sources, look at the websites for the states known for producing milk products. They often sell their own premium products, and you can sometimes buy them online. For example, you can buy isolated milk protein and milk protein concentrate through Idaho Milk Products, but their IdaPro brand is not readily available through many websites that sell most other protein powders.
Protein Powders that Contain Milk Protein Isolate
While it is difficult to find pure isolated milk protein powder, there are some protein powders that combine isolated milk protein with other types of protein. CytoSport is one of the biggest brands that sell this type of protein powder. A few of the products that you might consider are the following:
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You can find Muscle Milk in most big box retail stores as well as through most websites that carry protein powder. It is a mix of milk protein isolate, whey protein isolate, whey protein hydroslate, whey protein concentrate and calcium sodium caseinate. It also contains some added amino acids, including L-glutamine. The combination of so many protein sources means that the powder does not contain too much of any individual powder. Yet, whey protein isolate is another high-quality protein in the mix.
Each serving contains 150 calories, 6 grams of fat, 9 grams of carbohydrate and 16 grams of protein. That carbohydrate content includes 2 grams of fiber. There are many other types of protein that contain a lot more protein per serving, including most pure whey protein isolate powders. You do have the option of doubling up to a two-scoop serving that will deliver 32 grams of protein for 300 calories.
This is not the highest-quality protein powder on the market today. It is an affordable option that is widely available right now, but you do have many competitive products to compare this one to. You may want to look at the best whey protein isolate powders on this site before making your final purchase.
You can also purchase Muscle Milk in single-serving bottles. This is a convenient option if you need to drink your shakes on the go, but you will pay a lot more than you would pay for a tub of the powder without pre-mixing.
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If your fitness goals include bulking up with lean muscle mass, this is a better option than the standard Muscle Milk. It is designed to help with health muscle gain and includes the following added supplements:
- Leucine Peptides
- Creatine Monohydrate
- Betaine Anhydrous
- Digestive Enzymes
There are different formulas designed for pre and post-workout supplements and during-workout supplements. Each formula contains Leucine peptides and creatine monohydrate, but your formula will contain either betaine anhydrous or digestive enzymes depending on which formula you purchase.
You get a lot more protein in this formula, with 50 grams offered per serving. The calorie count is still reasonable at 280 per serving. Each serving also contains 5 grams of fat and 9 grams of carbohydrate with 1 gram of fiber.